Amazon Japan K.K., the Japanese branch of the major and massive online shopping site, has started offering an instant online video distribution service. This gives Japanese customers instant access to rent or purchase both local Japanese titles and also foreign and international TV shows and films.
The service, which will offer more than 26,000 titles, will also work in conjunction with film production and distribution companies like Shochiku Co. and Toho Co. and with major broadcasting companies including Fuji TV and NHK.
Of the 26,000 titles on offer, around 15,000 are apparently available in HD, and videos can be streamed to a couple of different devices, including a computer or Amazon’s Kindle, but can, apparently, only be downloaded to one device.
The instant online video service has been available since Tuesday this week. Customers are able to download videos from the Amazon website for as little as $0.99 to rent or $9.82 to buy a video.
Popular films on offer include Monsters University, which was a box office smash in the country, and is on offer at $5 for rental or Japanese customers can buy the video to keep for $25.
A slightly cheaper example is the first film in the new The Hobbit trilogy, which is only available for purchase at present, at $20 a pop.
Some older hits are available at much more reasonable prices, including films in the Lethal Weapon and Resident Evil series, with both series available for $1 per video.
The Amazon instant online video services also offers customers for free the first season of various TV shows including 24, Glee and a local drama, Boys over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango), which is a popular hit in Japan.
Prices for the new service are much lower than they are for buying the latest releases on DVD. DVDs are often priced over $30 each in Japan. However, even with the new online service, Japan still has a very viable DVD market, despite the fact that prices and products on offer are starting to decline.
To help Japanese customers enjoy the new video service, the brand new Kindle HDX will be going on sale in Japan this week and will include a $20 coupon for the new instant video online service as an added promotional incentive.
Other companies offering on-demand video services in Japan include U.S. companies Google Inc. and Apple Inc. as well as local services like GyaO, Fuji Television Network Inc. and Tsutaya TV.
Now that Amazon Japan has one of the largest customer-bases in the country, the competition in the entertainment and video side of the industry can only get stronger.
Amazon’s Japanese online service started selling e-books at the end of 2012 and on top of this, currently has a selection of around 25 million songs on their online music download service.
In September this year Amazon also started selling over-the-counter medicines, following a partial deregulation of the pharmaceutical industry in Japan. Amazon never ceases to grow in size and stature on a global basis as they now offer the instant online video service in Japan.
By Anne Sewell